Top Ten South Florida Athletes Post-LeBron

This is what we do in South Florida when we're not busy windsurfing.
This is what we do in South Florida when we're not busy windsurfing.

For the last four years it hasn't even been an argument. LeBron James (sigh) was the best athlete in South Florida. But now that the dirty liar/coward he's gone, things get interesting (read: less good) again. For example, this potential conversation could happen at any South Florida bar tonight.

Dude: CHALLENGE: Who are the top 10 athletes in South Florida now that LeBron left? Bet ya don't know, you're a bad sports fan. Or haven't you heard?

Dude1: [thinks for a second] Shit. You are right.

Alas! Good thing we got you covered. After all, we've been about championships and rings long before LeBron got here, and that ain't changing.

So, here are our Top 10 South Florida Athletes Post-Lebron.

No. 10: Udonis Haslem

All right, so you could make a case others in our city are better at what they do for a living than Haslem. Perhaps Tannehill is a better quarterback than Haslem is an enforcer but you try telling the man he doesn't belong on a Top 10 list. Dude left $14 million on the table in '10 to stay here and he left money on the table again this offseason to help the franchise. He's the best.

No. 9: Mike Wallace

So, after signing a 5-year $60 million deal in '13 -- and putting up seasons in Pittsburgh that included 1,000+ receiving yards and 10+ touchdowns -- Wallace's debut season with the Phins was a disappointment. He had 73 catches for 930 yards and 5 touchdowns, but it's hard to separate in football just how much of that was Wallace underperforming versus him having a worse quarterback than he did in Pittsburgh. As Tannehill (hopefully) continues to improve, so should this guy's numbers. But ya never know -- it's the Dolphins.


No. 8: Luol Deng

For years, this guy has been a player almost all Heat fans both respect and hate playing. As opposed to, say, Joakim Noah who is just an asshole. Deng, though, is a legitimate wing defender that will help any new defensive system Erik Spoelstra trots out and he's still only 29 despite playing heavy minutes in Chicago.

No. 7 Steve Cishek

It's a little odd, granted, to have a little known closer crack this list, but Cishek's really good. There was talk recently the Marlins might flip him at the MLB Trade Deadline yesterday but he's still here, and with good reason -- last year he converted 34 of 36 saves and this year he's nailed down 27 out of 30. And he's got a badass throwing motion.

No. 6 Cameron Wake

The three-time Pro Bowler for the Dolphins is still a beast, although he's now 32. Last year, as Adam Beasley of the Herald points out, he was the second-most productive pass-rusher in football according to Pro Football Focus. Combining sacks, quarterback hits and hurries (a PFF stat called "total pressures"), Wake had the fourth-most in the league with 71.


No. 5 Dwyane Wade

Even though he was crazy efficient last year -- leading all guards with a 54.5 shooting percentage -- it came at the cost of a rest program that had him playing in just 54 games all season. And then he played defense like this in the Finals. Bill Simmons of Grantland first pointed this out during the season, but if other stars only had to play 50 games, their numbers too might look hyper efficient like Wade's. Still, he's Dwyane bleeping Wade and that must be respected always.

No. 4: Jose Fernandez

You almost forgot about the electric 22-year-old, huh? After lighting up the league as a rookie with 187 strikeouts and a 2.19 era in 172.2 innings, he was busy at it again this year, firing 70 K's and a 2.44 era in just 51.1 innings. Then disaster struck and now it looks like the kid will be out a portion of '15, as well. Luckily, the success rate of Tommy John surgery is pretty high and he'll be back by the all-star break next season.

No. 3: Giancarlo Stanton

Perhaps no better news passed the wire yesterday than this at 4 p.m. when the MLB Trade Deadline expired: Dongcarlo Stanton is staying home, folks. For now. Chances are the Marlins could still Marlin and flip him in the off-season or before the trade deadline next year, but for now, that monster power is ours and ours only.

No. 2: Christopher Boshua

Heat fans are excited to have this man back -- and rightfully so -- after he inked a 5-year $118 million deal, spurning the loaded Houston Rockets to bring another title to Miami. He's fun and quirky and interesting. He learned Spanish, always gives introspective answers and generally loves South Florida and his life down here. We love you too, boo.

No. 1: Mario Chalmers

Or, in the immortal words of Dwyane Wade, Mario motherf'n Chalmers.

Follow Ryan Cortes on Twitter.

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